rotaryclubofbrighton | 2006 – 2015. Building for the future.

2006 – 2015. Building for the future.

The sixth decade of the Rotary Club of Brighton saw the country mired in the Iraq and Afghanistan

conflicts, and two huge, seminal events— the election of Barrack Obama as the country’s first

African-American President, and the death of Al Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden. Despite

combating an erosion of membership, the Club continued to tackle big projects overseas, including

a project that introduced students in Turkey to the magic of photography, and also in Turkey,

a White Cane Project which provided computers and other equipment for the visually impaired.

And back here in Brighton, the Club continued to tackle new projects in and around the

newly-renovated Buckland House.




Untitled-1The Club’s 51st presidents were: CHARLES S. TURNER, WILLIAM K. HESSSEL, CHARLES R. CHAPIN, and PETER D. SCHWARZ.

Each served three months. Maestro Chuck Krusenstjerna composed a series of Presidential Quartets to the tune of My Darling Clementine to mark each exchange of the gavel.

The Club switched to a buffet style dinner at Hawthorne’s, serving at 6:00pm and starting our meting at 6:30pm.

The Club heard from Chris King, our Group Study Exchange recipient, about the program with District 9870 Australia. We welcomed back our outgoing exchange students Vickie Walsh from Belgium and Will Blevins from Spain. Miri Swarosky, from Germany, was this year’s incoming exchange student

The Club contributed to Greece Rotary’s Water Project for Nigeria.

The celebration for our 50th Birthday was a wonderful party chaired by Clark Wackerman.

The Special Olympics selected us to receive their Outstanding Service Organization Award at their annual dinner.

Pancake Day moved to a new venue— the 12 Corners Presbyterian Church, where we filled the dining hall with over 120 sponsor posters and grossed over $17,000.

The Holiday Auction was fun filled and profitable, and the annual golf tournament netted $3500.

devil-wears-pradaThe Club raised another $5000 for the Buckland House project, thanks to the Tom Wahl/Glen Skalny bash at their house on East Avenue.

Nineteen Governors elect and spouses attended the Milt Matthews Governor Elect Hospitality Program.

Club members and our Interact Club prepared holiday baskets for the residents and children at the YWCA We sorted stuff at Food Link, thanks to Volney Frankel.

We provided transportation for our Interact Club to their volunteer venues Participation in Town events included: National Night Out, July 4th, Gideon Cobb Day, and Brighton Baseball’s opening day parade. We partnered with the 12 Corners Church for a Bicycle Rodeo and donated $300 to their Emily Fund for heart transplant.

At the LPGA, the Club was honored to have Chuck Turner serving as President of the Disabled Children of Monroe County, the governing body of the tournament, and Chrissy Tilley a director. Bill Hessell chaired the Monday’s Pro-Am event and Ron Brand chaired the Volunteers Committee> And once again, members helped staff the Champions Pavilion and the concession tent deliveries.

After years of requesting, Hawthorne’s installed new doors in the dining room so we could conduct our meeting in privacy.

Katrina floods.

Katrina floods.

The Chapins, Krusenstjernas and the Massecars, went to New Orleans, at their own expense, to help the New Orleans Rotary Club restore the Warren Easton High School damaged by hurricane Katrinaa. Their assistance, along with that from other clubs enabled the New Orleans Rotary Club receive the State of Louisiana’s Excellence in Education Award.

The Club’s continued efforts with the Centennial Project raised an additional $44,000 bringing it within $10,000 of the $100,000 goal; selling bricks added another $3,100; and the Club helped reduce the cost of the Buckland House restoration by finding equipment donors and providing a volunteer crew to paint the inside.

The Club won third place in the district awards for Pancake Day, second place in the district awards for the Buckland Project and first place for the club bulletin “On the Brightside.”

We were awarded a grant from RI for Doug Potter’s newspaper ad program; and received lots of exposure in the press and in the community with publicity on the Buckland House, our Citizen of the Year program and being able to drive Al Hawn’s Model A Rotary truck around town and at community events.

The Presidential Quartet thanks all of the club members for their help and devotion to Rotary.


The Club’s 52nd president was. RICHARD W. BLEVINS

As I reviewed the old copies of the Brightside (thanks to Sherri Wood, Pete Schwarz, Bob Monahan, Nancy Chin and others for keeping up the high quality) I was struck by the huge number of activities and wonderful speakers we have enjoyed in my year as President. I consider myself lucky to be associated with such a dedicated, caring and involved group of people who are always willing to step up and get things done – even when it isn‘t their job.’

Arbor Day at Buckland House.

Arbor Day at Buckland House.

Rick’s term began in a wonderful setting with a picnic at Al & Lois Hawn’s, on the lake in Canandaigua, with the continuation of several long standing traditions and programs, but with several important changes.

Pancake Day on Oct. 25th was another huge success, but at a new location at 12 Corners Presbyterian Church.

The Club enjoyed a fun Holiday Auction at Marios, and a blistering hot Golf Tournament at Victor Hills.

Sadly, this year also marked the passing of both Volney Frankel and Milt Mathhews, the two oldest (and best) members of our club. Milt was the only remaining original member of the club.

On a happier note, three new members were inducted— Janet Boccachino, Larry Wetzel and Mahendra Nanavati. These members have become immediately active and will be great assets to our club.

This year, on July 30th, Rotarians helped out with a “Walk of Stars” to assist in Camp Haccamo’s Movie theme week. It will be the Club’s last group activity with the campers at Haccamo, as the camp moves to its new home at the Sunshine Camp in 2008.

On Sept. 8th Rick represented the Club at the ribbon cutting for Grand Opening of the Buckland House. The Club donated/raised $100,000 towards the renovation of the second oldest house in Brighton, and a plaque on the building proclaims it as the “Brighton Rotary History Center at Buckland Park”.

The fall also saw the arrival of arrival of the Club’s Italian Exchange Student, Francesca Pani.

One special highlight of Rick’s year was the recognition of his daughter, Margo, with the Brighton Student Volunteer Award, and a $1000 scholarship. She later left for a year in Germany as an exchange student – another of the wonderful programs sponsored by the Club.

family-guy-big-bang-theory-the-10-tv-shows-that-just-need-to-end-544807On Saturday, Oct 27, under the leadership of Ram Shrivastava, the Club distributed 1000 fluorescent light bulbs to area businesses as a way of raising awareness for energy conservation. It was a wonderful community activity which included members of the U of R Rotaract club.

In December the Club again participated in YWCA gift distribution.

January saw another successful Milt Mathhews Governors’ Elect Hospitality program (the 40th) with 13 visiting Governors from around the world. This program was started by the Club and it continues to provide the leadership (Ernie Bullock and Pete Schwarz) to make it happen.

February 27, 2008, was proclaimed Brighton Rotary Day by the Brighton Town Board.

In the winter and spring the Club attempted to alternate meetings between morning and evenings in an attempt to attract more members. After three months, it was discontinued because even fewer members attended in the mornings, and no new members were attracted. February also saw a meeting held at the Little Theater, arranged by Tony Conti.

Navigating the cones at the Bike Rally.

In May the Club visited Foodlink, and recognized Citizen of the Year, Herb Ross. The Bike Rally, sponsored in part by Brighton Rotary, was held at the 12 Corners Presbyterian Church, on Saturday, June 7

The final activity of Rick’s term was another picnic, this time at our house, where he was happy to transfer the Horns of Responsibility to the capable hands of Bill Moehle.

I have left much out and would like to end with a heartfelt thank-you to all those who helped me through my year as President. I could never have made it alone, which is, of course, why I joined Rotary – because we can make a difference Share Rotary.


Our 53rd President was WILLIAM W. MOEHLE

The theme for Rotary year 2008-9 was “Make Dreams Real.” Three short words that sum up for me the reason that all of us are Rotarians.

Rotary exists to make dreams real, both at home and around the world. Rotary allows each of us to extend our reach, so that the efforts and ideas of one person can multiply through the efforts and resources of dozens of Rotarians in Brighton, hundreds of Rotarians in our District and over a million Rotarians in the world.

During 2008-9, Brighton Rotarians lived up to the Rotary theme, and “Made Dreams Real” in so many ways throughout the year.

Bell-ringing at Marketplace Mall.

Bell-ringing at Marketplace Mall.

District Governor, Mike Leone of Irondequoit, had urged clubs to conduct a Community Needs Assessment to identify unmet needs in our own communities, so they could then craft programs to meet those needs. Deanna Krusenstjerna served as Chair of the Club’s Committee, and in addition to Rotarians Rick Blevins, Janet Boccacino and Ron Little, Diane Blevins and Town Board member Sheila Gaddis served as community members. The Committee met throughout the year, and developed several new projects designed to address unmet needs— and to fill the gap from the change in direction of the LPGA Golf Tournament, which no longer supported Camp Haccamo.

During 2008-9, the Club supported many community service projects

  • Doubling volunteer effort at Foodlink by working there twice, once during the holidays and again in June— and the Foundation made a generous financial a donation, at a time when financial support had also been impacted by the economic turmoil
  • Ringing holiday bells for the Salvation Army at Marketplace Mall, when the community became aware that not enough volunteers were available for that worthwhile program
  • Working at Camp Haccamo in many ways
  • Filling and distributing holiday baskets to women and families at the YWCA
  • Work at Buckland House continued, as the Club donated paint as part of an effort to finish the second floor of the House— and attending the Grand Opening ceremony of the completed Buckland House, where the Club received praise for its efforts from Town Supervisor Sandy Frankel
  • Participating in the second annual community-wide project, Brighton Clean Sweep
  • Helping the Brighton Police Department with their Bike Rodeo

Tiger Woods outlasted a gritty Rocco Mediate for a U. S Open victory that surprised even him.

The Club’s international efforts also received praise from the Town. In January, for the 41st time, the Club again hosted visiting District Governors Elect through the Milt Mathews District Governors’ Elect Hospitality Program. During their stay with Brighton Rotarians, several of the Governors’ Elect attended a Brighton Town Board meeting, where they were introduced to the community and Brighton Rotary was hailed for its efforts.

Also in the area of international service, the Club again hosted an exchange student, Camille Adam, from Belgium, and enjoyed not only her cheerful presence throughout the year, but also an informative presentation she gave about herself, her community and her country.

We also successfully received a Matching Grant and completed a new international service program, in conjunction with District 7120 and the Istanbul Bayrampasa Rotary Club in Turkey, in which we donated photographic and computer equipment for a photography program in four elementary schools in impoverished areas near Istanbul.

In June Pete and Elaine Schwarz and Larry and Carole Wetzel flew to Istanbul to participate in ceremonies recognizing the success of the program and honoring the student winners.

Club service is often overlooked, but for President Bill, it was club service by members that did more than anything else to make his job manageable:

  • Programs for weekly meetings were ably organized by Program Chair and President Elect Chuck Krusenstjerna
  • The Club bulletin was again recognized for its excellence at the District Assembly, thanks go to Sherri Wood and her team of reporters, along with photographer Peter Schwarz
  • No club can prosper without new members, and thanks to the Membership Committee, let by PDG Chuck Turner, the Rotary Information Committee, led by Pete Schwarz, several new members were added, including former Rotary Foundation scholar Jim Fleming, Christine Bergeson, who worked with the Club on several service projects even before she was officially inducted as a member, and Helen Schmidt, who spoke to the Club about her own service efforts with the Rochester Psychiatric Center
It's Pancake Day!

It’s Pancake Day!

Service efforts require money, and throughout the year, the Club successfully raised money and had fun at the same time.

  • Pancake Day raised over $15,000 and provided great outreach to the community, thanks in large part to the leadership skills of Ron Little and Gary Larusso
  • Bill Hessel ran another successful Golf Tournament, at a new location, the Country Club of Mendon.
  • Finally, the Holiday Auction, chaired by Tom Wahl, with a cast of celebrity Rotarian auctioneers, raised holiday cheer and financial support for the Brighton Rotary Service Foundation.

Some Club activities were just plain fun.

  • The coveted Toaster Trophy, previously awarded to clubs other than Brighton Rotary for softball excellence, was finally won by Brighton Rotary, when the competition, organized by Rick Blevins, shifted to bocce. Led by new ringer, Mahendra Nanavati, both teams of Brighton Rotarians were undefeated on a cool autumn day
  • The Club also attended Rotary Day at Frontier Field
  • And at the Changeover Dinner, also at Frontier Field, the Club was honored with a Presidential Citation, recognizing its successful efforts in many areas of Rotary service— an honor granted only to about 15% of Rotary Clubs each year.

Barrack Obama is elected 44th President.

As it does each year, the Club recognized a member of the community that exemplifies the Rotary Motto, Service Above Self, as Brighton’s Citizen of the Year. This year the Club recognized Mark Hoyt for his forty years of service to youth sports in Brighton. We invited the girls’ softball team, who he had just coached to a victory, to help make the surprise extra special. That same night we recognized Chuck Kaplan and Nancy Chin as Paul Harris Fellows.

Fortunately, we held that dinner on May 18, because on May 19, the State Tax Commission closed Hawthorne’s, where we had met for years. At year end we were considering various Brighton restaurants for a new meeting place, hopefully one where the Club will make many years of memories.

Sadly, Bob Penty passed during the year, only six months after his wife Jene had died. Bob and Jene will both be missed, and it will be especially hard to replace Bob’s years of efforts in the Club’s international and youth service activities.

This was a busy year, a year in which the Club was impacted, as all non-profit organizations were, by the severe economic recession. Yet, in spite of all that, Brighton Rotary never lost sight of its mission— to Make Dreams Real.

I thoroughly enjoyed the year as President, and could not have done so without the help of every member of the club. As I pass the torch to our new President, Chuck Krusenstjerna, I know that each of you will continue to support his hard work, and I encourage all of us to look around, find that neighbor, co-worker or even spouse that shares our commitment to service, and give that person the gift of Rotary by asking them to become a member. There is no better way to support Rotary and President Chuck.

Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger successfully crash lands U.S. Airways plane on Hudson River.

Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully crash lands U.S. Airways plane on Hudson River.

The Club’s 54th President was CHARLES KRUSENSTJERNA.

Rotarian Doug Potter, his daughter, Samantha (left), hosts of exchange student, Francesca Pani.

Rotarian Doug Potter, his daughter, Samantha (left), hosts of exchange student, Francesca Pani.

The Club’s new home was the Bagel Bin, located appropriately at Twelve Corners in Brighton, as symbolized by the logo on our Club banner.

Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self,” was realized abundantly this year.

  • Members sorted nearly 5 tons of items at FOODLINK
  • The Club was involved in Brighton Clean Sweep, TOPS Markets’ “Brown Bags of Hope” project, and every 8 weeks was well-represented at the Asbury Dining Center serving nearly 100 needy persons.
  • Members again rang bells for the Salvation Army, and prepared and distributed food baskets and toys to the women and children at the YWCA
  • And of course the Club assisted yet again with the LPGA.

Nostalgia reigned as the Club closed the Anderson Cabin at Camp Haccamo. It represented the end of an era, as the Camp has formally relocated to the Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush, NY. A piece of the former environment remains, however, as the Haccamo train was reinstalled at Sunshine— the Club has committed to the landscaping of a portion of the track route, for the enjoyment of future generations of campers.


James Harrison returns his interception of Kurt Warner 100 yards for a touchdown as time expires in the first half of Super Bowl XLIII.

The Club sponsored another hugely successful Pancake Day, as well as the Holiday Auction and the Golf Tournament. Without these fundraisers the support for the Club’s many projects would not be possible.

The Club held an Open House at the Buckland House, and in general increased significantly it’s level of visibility in the community, and happily inducted 4 new members.

A few notes on the Club’s continued outstanding efforts in International Service

  • January saw the arrival of 28 DGEs, the largest ever to attend the Milt Matthews Governor-Elect Hospitality Program— some of them came from countries never before represented
  • The Club enjoyed the frequent company of Rahul Kapoor, our Rotary Exchange Student from Mumbai, India
  • And the Club responded, and continues to respond, to the devastation caused by earthquakes in Haiti and Tibet

The  Club’s choice for Citizen of the Year, Rev. W Kenneth Williams, was recognized at a gala event at Locust Hill Country Club, for his extensive service to the Baptist Church, and as a Brighton Firefighter. Additionally, he serves as President, Chaplain, and Critical Incident Stress Manager to the Brighton Fire Department. On that same occasion Paul Harris Fellowships were awarded to Brighton Firefighter and former Brighton Rotarian Donald Jeffries, and to the Club’s own Alison Rich.

The annual Changeover was a delightful time, held at Ellison Park, the “Horns of Dilemma” were passed to new President, Rick Marchese. He was also appropriately “crowned,” and was the first to have the opportunity to sit on the new “throne,” a Rotary chair belonging originally to Milt Matthews.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the countless hours of service by our members to projects such as Roc City Uncorked, Hike for Haccamo, LPGA, many D7120 and Rotary International assignments, and certainly the personal “hands on” work in places as far flung as Haiti, India, and Tibet.


This year “The Future of Rotary Was In Our Hands,” and the Club met the challenge.



The Club’s 55th president was Rick Blevins. His reflections on his year as President…

I found my year as President to be very fulfilling and fun. I am especially proud of jump starting our club’s involvement with the District Oratorical and Vocal competitions. Brighton High School certainly has a lot of talented students, and with the guidance of our club those students who participated in these competitions certainly got a lot out of it and were very appreciative for the opportunity and experience.

RICK BLEVINS, President 2011-12


Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2012.

The Club had another successful Pancake Day, netting over $13,000  for community projects and the Foundation. Some of these funds were also used for a matching grant for the White Cane Project in Turkey, which provided needed computers and other equipment for visually impaired individuals in Turkey.

The Milt Matthews Governor Elect Hospitality Program, unquestionably the Club’s signature project, was again an incredible event of fellowship and goodwill that made all proud to be Rotarians, and proud to play a role in bringing people together— from all parts of the globe to Western New York.

I want to especially thank Tony Conte for his tireless efforts as Program director – we had outstanding speakers this year, all due to Tony. I want to also thank Alison Rich for keeping us well in the black, and Peter Schwarz for always keeping me on the right path. I had a great time as President, and look forward to serving the Club in many other ways.

RICK BLEVINS, President 2011-12


The Club’s 56th president was Anthony (Tony) Conte.

I enjoyed the past year as President of The Brighton Rotary Club. The greatest benefit of being a Rotarian is the privilege of knowing other Rotarians— thank you for this.

ANTHONY CONTE, President 2011-12


Massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake severely damages Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station

8.9 magnitude earthquake severely damages Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station

Tony did his best to assist in the goals of Rotary and for Rotarians to achieve their goals. A big thank you goes out to Program Committee members Chuck Turner, Deanna and Chuck Krusenstjerna, Janet Boccacino, Club Treasurer Alison Rich and Club Secretary Christine Bergeson. And it is also important to mention the much appreciated assistance Peter Schwarz and Chuck Chapin always render in order for the Club to function.

This list is representative of what Brighton Rotarians did this year and do year after year:

  • Food link— providing food to needy  throughout Western New York
  • Water project in Uganda, through a matching grant with other clubs
  • Support of the Rotary Foundation— with 2 Paul Harris members recognizing individuals who better the community
  • Holiday Auction— to support Brighton Rotary Service Foundation
  • Annual Pancake day fundraiser
  • Asbury Church Food Kitchen—  Feeding  people in need
  • Homecoming parade— participating once again in this event for Brighton High School
  • Bicycle Rodeo— educating youngsters in Safe Bicycling
  • Operation Clean Sweep— Trash pick-up in Brighton
  • Support Camp Haccamo— participating in the Hike for Haccamo, the summer camp for disabled youngsters; landscaping for the Haccamo Railroad
  • LPGA— once again putting up and taking down signs for the Tournament, which supports a variety of community projects
  • Recycling ink cartridges
  • Buckland House– garden care for the historice Buckland Farmhouse, the second oldest house in Brighton
  • Milt MatthewGovernort Elect Hospitality program— which fosters goodwill among Rotarians from all over the world
  • Joint Project with Turkish club on a program for visually impaired
  • Shelter box for Haiti & Italy, aiding victims of natural disasters
  • Citizen of Year— recognition of one outstanding individual involved with community service
  • YWCA – Santa Claus/food baskets— Santa, and members bring food baskets to families in need
  • Net Zero for Haccmo— the plan to make Camp Sunshine & Haccamo energy efficient
  • Collection for Polio Plus— the Rotary project for worldwide polio elimination
  • Bell-ringing for the Salvation Army during the Holidays
  • Dictionary Project— giving free Dictionaries to French Road Elementary 4rd graders ;.Donations – Turkeys to Asbury Church feeding people in need af Thanksgiving. – Golisano Childrens Hospital. – Inter-city Charter schoool

The Club’s 57th President was Lawrence R. (Larry) Wetzel

As I look back over the past year, I am very happy with all the club has accomplished and am honored to have been the president during this time. We did so much, I can only touch on the highlights.

LAWRENCE R. (LARRY) WETZEL, President 2012-13

According to the Myan calendar, this was the year the world would end.

According to the Mayan calendar, 2012 was the year the world would end.

The Club had extremely successful Pancake Day and Holiday Auction fundraisers. Everyone in the club had a role in making these events successful, most notably Chuck Turner, Ron Little and Flip for generating and maintaining the enthusiasm for Pancake Day, and Dale Tilley for his yeoman work in the kitchen on a very difficult day in his life.

Once again the Milt Matthews Governor Elect Hospitality Program was a great experience for 17 guest District Governor Elects and their spouses, as well as for the District 7120 Rotarians that hosted them. District 7120’s then District Governor Elect, Ellen Hughes, reported receiving great positive feedback at the Rotary International Assembly which followed it. This program truly puts the Club and the District on the map. Any so many people from so many clubs came together to make this happen, but Pete Schwarz deserves to be called out and thanked for taking over for Larry as committee chair for the year.

And again the Club steered the silent auction at the District Conference with avery fruitful result for the district under Marian Turner’s direction with assists from Chuck and others.

The Club partnered with other clubs in providing shelter boxes and other aid to the survivors of Super Storm Sandy.

An application was made, and received, for a District Simplified Grant to provide defibrillators for two new police cars for the Brighton Police Department.

Untitled-2The Club supported (and will continue to support) the new group home for handicapped adults built rear Twelve Corners by the Heritage Christian Foundation (along with continuing to support Camp Haccamo). And the Club was honored to be able to participate in both the ground-breaking and the dedication of the new home.

On the public relations front, the Club also got a little TV time for its usual support of FoodLink.

Rotary signs were procured for both ends of the three streets that form Brighton’s Twelve Corners, represented in the emblem on the Club’s trading flag.

And of course, the Club continued (and will continue) to support Polio Plus.

Carole and I wish the club continued support in the future.

LAWRENCE R. (LARRY) WETZEL, President 2012-13